It took just over 12 years, an Australian record in terms of time, before a greyhound finally knocked the great New South Wales sprinter Rapid Journey from his mantle as Australia’s highest stakeswinner.
That greyhound was, of course, the aptly-named High Earner who took out the Invitation-only Temlee at the Meadows on 19 February and in collecting the $50,000 first prize money took his career earnings to a new Australian record of $553,795. This surpassed Rapid Journey’s previous mark of $530,995, set in 1998.
When Rapid Journey retired, his record prize money tally was an incredible $148,395 more than the previous record holder, namely the sensational dual NSW Greyhound of the Year Tenthill Doll.
The former Queensland black bitch had amassed $382,600 in her career, which ended in March 1997. Tenthill Doll held the prize money record for just over a year.
Tenthill Doll had replaced champion Queensland bitch Flying Amy from the top of the pile. Flying Amy had amassed $355,205 by the time she was retired in April 1996, after becoming the first greyhound to pass $300,000 in stakes.
In 1993, the Victorian sprinter Highly Blessed had set a new record with stakes of $294,565, going past the champion West Australian bitch Sandi’s Me Mum who had established her mark of $272,831 in 1991.
In 1988, the prize money record changed hands a remarkable three times in just 19 days. On 1 October that year, New South Wales stayer Whip Tip set a new mark of $105,995 at what was her 66th start. She was then retired. Then, on 19 October, the mighty Victorian stayer Bold Trease eclipsed the record when he won in track record time at Wangaratta, taking his earnings to $106,100. Bold Trease, incidentally, is the last stayer to hold the prize money record.
Just 24 hours later, Dancing Gamble won the Brisbane Cup in race record time at the Gabba and picked up $25,000. That amount took his earnings past $107,000, a new record.
When Dancing Gamble finished with what was then a whopping $134,825 when he was retired in 1989, I doubt many people would have been game to suggest that within two years the new mark would be nearer $300,000.
Prior to Whip Tip, the record was held by Pretty Fearless, with $103,475, who finished his career in 1987 as the first Queenslander to hold the prize money title and he was only the second greyhound to earn more than $100,000 in stakes.
The honour of being the first went to dual NSW Greyhound of the Year Winifred Bale who retired in 1983 with $100,740. She had removed Victorian sprinter Tangaloa from the record books, his $93,000 being achieved in January 1980 when he snared the Australian Cup and was immediately retired.
NSW sprinter Acclaim Star, who took his earnings to $77,000 on 29 November 1979 with victory in the Melbourne Cup, held the record for just 42 days before Tangaloa took his crown.
The great Victorian stayer Lizrene had held the stakeswinning record at $61,000 from 1974 when she surpassed the mighty Zoom Top who had earned what was then a phenomenal $59,032, as at her retirement in April 1970.
Zoom Top actually held the prize money record from October 1968 when she passed the previous best of $17,455 established by 1966 NSW Greyhound of the Year Roman Earl.
So, since the advent of the TAB and the money it has poured into the sport, just 16 greyhounds have been able to claim the honour of being Australia’s highest stakes winners.